Thistles awards free retail unit to local business Centre Stage Dancewear

 Dancewear stockists win free retail unit under the shopping centre’s #ThistlesHelps campaign 

L-R Leigh White, co-owner of #ThistlesHelps competition winner Centre Stage Dancewear, with Olivia Gow (8)

Thistles Shopping Centre in Stirling has today announced local dancewear business Centre Stage Dancewear as the winning competitor for a free retail unit under its #ThistlesHelps campaign.   

The shopping centre launched the competition in June, calling for local businesses in the Stirling and Forth Valley area who felt a space at Thistles would aid their business growth, to apply for a free unit until January 2022 in a Dragon’s Den style process. The initiative was launched under the #ThistlesHelps campaign, aimed at helping the community in its recovery following the pandemic.  

The competition, supported by Go Forth Stirling, received wide-spread interest from local businesses, with Lesley Ann Craig and Leigh White, owners of Centre Stage Dancewear, taking the coveted prize.   

The dancewear shop, which will open its doors on Saturday (28 August) offering a selection of exclusive and regulation approved dancewear, has been given a 1,000 sq ft unit to operate from within the centre completely free of charge for five months, with all rent and utility charges covered. As well as stocking a wide variety of adult and children’s dancewear and dance shoes, the store also has a stage for budding performers to show off their skills and a dressing area where they can truly get into character.  

Go Forth will also be providing the winning business with access to free training, a shop front grant scheme to aid with store signage and an eCommerce grant scheme that can be used to support any online activity, such as marketing and SEO development. Centre Stage will also become a member of Stirling BID, receiving access to a number of other benefits.  

Lesley Ann Craig, co-owner of Centre Stage Dancewear, commented: “We are thrilled to have won this fantastic opportunity and can’t wait to welcome visitors to our new store this weekend. We’ve been looking to expand our business so when we saw the #ThistlesHelps initiative it seemed like the ideal route for us.  

“We’ve been looking to expand into Stirling for some time but without this competition we simply couldn’t afford such a great space. Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of our Falkirk store opening so it’s great timing and a really exciting moment for us and our business.” 

Entries were reviewed by a judging panel consisting of Gary Turnbull, Centre Director and Claire Barrie, Retail Marketing Manager at Thistles, and Danielle McRorie-Smith, Project Director at Go Forth.  

Gary Turnbull, Centre Director at Thistles, said: “We were really pleased with the entries we received and are delighted to welcome Centre Stage to Thistles. We were impressed by their business plan and feel confident they’ll be an excellent addition to the centre.” 

Aimed at helping a local business to grow after a difficult period for many, this is the first contribution from the centre’s #ThistlesHelps campaign which will continue throughout the year with various offerings aimed at helping the local community. Another initiative within the scheme will see the Thistles team volunteer a minimum of 80 hours to worthwhile causes in Stirling during 2021. 

Thistles is currently running its free Wolf Pack kids club on the last Sunday of August, September, October and November. To book a space and for more information on Thistles please visit For more information on Centre Stage please visit   

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